Internal Use of Essential Oils
Essential oils are already a normal part of your diet and the human body is well equipped to safely metabolize them. When you sprinkle cinnamon on your oatmeal, sip a mug of peppermint tea, or add fresh oregano to your pasta sauce, you are actually consuming small amounts of the volatile compounds found naturally in the plant. Essential oils give plants their aroma and flavor. When concentrated, essential oils can be used as internal supplements for more potent and targeted support.
An important aspect of using essential oils is regarding them on an individual basis, noting their specific chemistry, beneficial effects, safety considerations, and appropriate application methods.
The Science Behind Why They Work
When ingested, essential oils directly enter the blood stream via the gastrointestinal tract, where they are transported throughout the rest of the body. Essential oils are lipid soluble so they are readily transported to all organs of the body, including the brain. Then, like all things we consume, essential oils are metabolized by the liver and other organs and are then excreted.
The composition of essential oils is highly complex. Each constituent possesses a unique set of biochemical properties that react with cells and organs in different ways. Although these mechanisms of action are not completely understood, the positive end results have been demonstrated. However, the body is only equipped to handle appropriate doses of essential oils.
Proper dosing according to labeling recommendations and other professional guidelines should be strictly followed to avoid toxicity.
Essential Safety Tip
- Less is More: Start small and instead of using multiple drops of an oil internally, such as in a veggie capsule, start off with one to see how it works.
- Increase Frequency Before Drops: Your liver can only tolerate oils in small doses because it breaks them down more slowly. It’s a better idea to use one drop 15-90 minutes apart, rather than many drops all at once.
- There’s a Time and Place: Not all needs will respond to internal use. And sometimes topically works just as well (such as digestive oils massaged over the belly). We prescribe to Dr Axe’s advice around saving your internal use for when you really feel like you need it.
- Limit Your Daily Drops: The maximum consensus is to consume no more than 10-25 drops of all essential oils per day (25 being for oils such as citruses). Kurt Schnaubelt recommends up to 9 drops a day for healthy adults, and only as needed. If you really don’t NEED it daily, it’s better to save it for when you do.
- Certain Oils = More Caution: Oils high in phenols (such as oregano, cinnamon, thyme, etc) are generally more likely to accumulate in the liver. Use these with care. There are lots of good reference books, to get familiar with the chemical makeup of oils. For a very general guideline/starting point, the hotter the oil, the more precaution. And if you wouldn’t normally eat it, think twice before consuming its oil.
- Dilute: Even if you’re putting your oil in a veggie capsule, it’s still a good idea to dilute with an edible carrier oil, such as raw coconut oil, olive oil, etc. This helps to ensure less potential irritation to any mucous membranes.
- Some People Should Just Avoid It: If you are pregnant, nursing, have a major health concern, a compromised immune system, or liver issues, we would recommend avoiding internal use of most oils until you speak with your naturopathic physician.
Important: Not all essential oils can be used internally. The information here only pertains to doTERRA essential oils. The FDA has listed certain essential oils as “Generally Recognized as Safe” for internal use.
*These products have not been approved by the FDA or TGA and are not intended to treat, cure, diagnose or prevent any disease. Please seek advice of a trained health care professional where appropriate, especially if pregnant or breastfeeding. The limited information found on this website is for informational purposes only. You should never rely solely on the information found here and if you have any health condition or illness always seek out the advice of a trained professional.